The 2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar is designed to appeal to an evolving customer base of younger people who want personal transportation but resist taking on the burdens and expense of owning a car.
For generations, buying a car was a highly anticipated event on the road to young adulthood. But, according to research by Chevrolet and MTV Scratch, today’s next-generation urbanites tend to delay this kind of major purchase because of uncertainty about taking on new vehicle ownership expenses.
They also want a car that is cheaper and easier to maintain. The Spark, with its retail starting price of $12,995, is designed to overcome these consumers’ objections to car ownership right out of the gate with a flurry of cost-saving and convenience features.
Annalisa Bluhm, communications manager for Chevrolet small cars, expounded on the identity and characteristics of these next- generation customers.
“It’s someone who is between the ages of 16 and 32, or even a little older, but who is very digitally enabled, you know, who lives and dies by their cell phone, but is familiar with posting to social media,” she explained.
Bluhm indicated much thought went into this idea of the digitally enabled person and what they need to feel more at home inside a vehicle.
“Because when you shut the door and put the phone down, that really does cause a lot of anxiety for a next-generation customer, so how do we make it safe, interactive and create a familiar environment in which they can engage?”
In answer to that question, Chevrolet offers Spark customers the seven-inch touch screen MyLink infotainment system, which works directly with the user’s cell phone to enable the vehicle occupant to use applications, do navigation, watch movies and view photos, for example.
In another move likely to enhance the Spark’s appeal to the “digitally enabled” set, Chevrolet includes OnStar service for six months, giving Spark owners the convenience of receiving monthly vehicle diagnostics, including tire pressure and fluid levels, sent to their email accounts and cell phones.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Spark is as frugal as close competitors such as the Scion iQ and Fiat 500 with its 38-mpg highway rating.
Savings and convenience for owners continue over the life of the vehicle, Bluhm said. For example, Chevy officials say, the Spark can go up to 100,000 miles before needing new spark plugs, an advantage of 36,000 miles over the Fiat 500 and nearly double that, or 70,000 miles, over the Smart fortwo minicar.
Unlike many vehicles whose owners’ manual recommends an oil change every 3,000 miles, the Spark can go about 7,500 miles, or more than twice as long between oil changes. That represents a potential savings of about $900 over the average 150,000-mile life of the car.
And, according to Chevrolet, the Spark is the only minicar on the market covered by a fiveyear/ 100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty; a three- year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a six-year/100,000-mile rust-through limited warranty.
Content provided coutesy of Detroit Auto
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